UNION SQUARE — Whatever the weather report for Thursday morning, one thing is for certain: There will be snow in Union Square.
Defying the startlingly spring-like weather in Manhattan this winter, representatives from New York state’s ski resorts will be hauling mounds of man-made snow into Manhattan late Wednesday night.
Some of it will arrive by dump truck or pick-up truck. Some will be made fresh on site using snow guns. The overall intent is to create a winter wonderland that will greet residents and commuters passing through Union Square on Thursday morning—and remind them that despite unseasonable warmth in the Big Apple, the slopes upstate are still ripe for skiing.
“We hope seeing is believing for people as they walk by,” said Scott Brandi, president of Ski Areas of New York, which represents some 40 upstate ski resorts and is helping organize Thursday's event.
To encourage more Manhattanites to make trips upstate, the event will offer free snowboarding lessons for kids up to age 6. Professional snowboarder Pat Moore will make an appearance, and Red Bull’s street team will be giving away a pair of custom skis, among other goodies.
Brandi said this winter has been “very, very peculiar and unfriendly” for the ski business. Warm weather forced the Parks Department to cancel its annual Winter Jam, an event produced with Ski Areas of New York to give folks a chance to test out winter sports for free.
Forecasters are predicting some snow on Wednesday, but with little to no accumulation. And Thursday is expected to bring sunshine and highs in the mid-40s.
But upstate, Brandi said, ski resorts are churning out man-made snow like crazy to keep the mountains covered and business afloat, he said.
For example, Hunter Mountain in the Catskills manufactures 1.83 million tons of snow every year—enough to build a four-lane highway from Hunter to New York City, Brandi said.
“The ski industry is more than just a recreation. For a lot of small towns, we’re the lifeblood,” Brandi added. “We certainly depend on New York City skiers to keep us busy.”